Recent inspections at Parton, on the Cumbrian coast, after the area had been pounded by storms Ciara, Dennis and Jorge, found that the huge waves and gales had caused cracks to appear in a railway bridge.
Although repair work was started immediately, further investigations found the damage to both the bridge and the sea wall was worse than at first thought. As a result, the bridge, which carries the Cumbrian Coast line, will have to be completely replaced over the coming months.
This has caused the railway to be closed in that area. To keep passengers moving, bus replacement services will be in operation for passengers between Workington and Whitehaven until the summer.
Trains will continue to run on the rest of the Cumbrian Coast line between Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness although, with only essential travel being recommended during the coronavirus pandemic, a reduced timetable is operating on the line anyway.
Phil James, route director for Network Rail’s North West route, said: “The severe storms earlier this year battered Cumbria’s railway and we’re still working hard to repair the damage. Our engineers are replacing the bridge at Parton to make this exposed section of railway much more reliable in the future. I’m sorry for the inconvenience this will cause for passengers using the Cumbrian Coast line.”
Chris Jackson, regional director at Northern, said: “The extreme weather earlier this year was prolonged and we are still feeling the effects of the damage caused.
“The repairs being carried out at Parton are vital if rail services are to return and I’d like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding.
“Of course, services in the area are also being limited by measures to restrict the spread of coronavirus, but the rail industry is doing all it can to keep key workers on the move during this difficult time.”